OVER the last few days, China was forced to lock down a county Ejin in China’s inner Mongolia region that has seen the most Covid-19 cases in the country’s latest delta outbreak. This was followed by locking down on Tuesday of Lanzhou, a city of four million, in a bid to stamp out a domestic coronavirus spike, with residents told not to leave home except in emergencies. The country has also witnessed a nationwide surge in the Covid infections triggered by Delta, a new virulent strain that originated from India. China expects new Covid-19 outbreak to worsen in the coming days.
If anything, the fresh flare-up of the pandemic in the country of its origin is proof enough that the disease is now a part of our daily lives. Or to use a technical term, it has become endemic now.
India is also on alert after infections related to new Delta variant AY.4.2 were detected in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. The strain is said to be potentially more contagious than the delta variant. This has become a cause of some concern. However, the overall situation remains very encouraging. With every passing day, the situation on the Covid-19 front is getting better. The much-feared third wave has not materialized. The vaccination of a majority of the population has drastically reduced the infections. India is reporting now less than 13000 cases, according to the data by the Union Health ministry. The country’s overall active caseload has gone way below 2 lakh after more than seven months. This shows a steady decline in numbers. If this trend continues, India could be rid of the pandemic in a month or two.
This has given confidence to the union government to relax Covid-related restrictions and reopen its borders to foreign travelers after 19 months. The country has already started granting tourist visas to travelers arriving on chartered flights. The facility will be extended to those arriving on commercial flights from 15 November.
With travel set to reopen, this is going to benefit India’s beleaguered economy. There are already signs to this effect with many sectors of the economy recovering fast. But that is no reason to become complacent. It is unlikely that the Covid-19 pandemic could be reigned in anytime soon. Unless the government complements the vaccination with the upgrading of healthcare and strict enforcement of adherence to SOPs in public, there are likely to be more outbreaks in various parts of the country. And such flareups could undo the progress made so far.
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